The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today approved outsourcing the operations and maintenance of its Lake Hodges Pumped Storage Projects to ProTrans USA, LLC to help ensure the vital new water reliability and hydroelectric facility is run and maintained as cost-effectively as possible. ProTrans is a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure and in the provision of operations and maintenance services.
“This is very sensible and positive step for the Water Authority and the region’s ratepayers,” Michael T. Hogan, Water Authority Board Chair, said. “By soliciting bids from the private sector to operate and maintain the Lake Hodges Projects, we gain a team of very knowledgeable professionals to run the facility at the most competitive cost.”
ProTrans USA will receive an amount of slightly more than $8 million to operate and maintain the facility for 62 months. Drawing from SNC-Lavalin’s experience and expertise in the field of hydroelectricity around the world, ProTrans USA will be responsible for round-the-clock pumped storage operations and ensuring that power generated from the hydroelectric plant fulfills the Water Authority’s power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric.
The Lake Hodges Projects are part of the Emergency Storage Project, a system of reservoirs, interconnected pipelines and pumping stations designated to make water available to the San Diego region in the event of an interruption in imported water deliveries.
The projects are located on the north shore of Lake Hodges, which is owned by the city of San Diego. They connect Lake Hodges with the Water Authority’s Olivenhain Reservoir, making 20,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Hodges available for emergency use throughout the region. (An acre-foot of water is equal to about 326,000 gallons or enough water to supply the household needs of two typical families for a year.)
The facility also is capable of generating up to 40 megawatts of hydroelectric power – enough to meet the annual needs of 26,000 households. During periods of high energy demand, water stored in Olivenhain Reservoir can be released 770 feet downhill into Lake Hodges. As the water passes through the Lake Hodges Pump Station, it activates the pump turbines to generate electricity. At times of low energy demand, the turbines pump the water uphill back into Olivenhain Reservoir. The Water Authority sells the power to SDG&E under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Revenues from power generation help offset the plant’s operating costs.
The Water Authority expects Lake Hodges to be fully operational by May 2012. For more information on the Lake Hodges Projects, visit www.sdcwa.org/sites/default/files/files/publications/lakehodges-fs.pdf